144 user 83 critic

The Misfits (1961)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, Western | 1 February 1961 (USA)
1:35 | Trailer
A divorcée falls for an over-the-hill cowboy who is struggling to maintain his romantically independent lifestyle.


John Huston


Arthur Miller (screenplay)
4,803 ( 1,010)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Clark Gable ... Gay Langland
Marilyn Monroe ... Roslyn Taber
Montgomery Clift ... Perce Howland
Thelma Ritter ... Isabelle Steers
Eli Wallach ... Guido
James Barton ... Fletcher's Grandfather
Kevin McCarthy ... Raymond Taber
Estelle Winwood ... Church Lady Collecting Money in Bar


Depressed divorcèe, Roslyn Tabor (Monroe), and Gay Langland (Gable), an aging ex-cowboy, who survives by rounding up and catching mustangs (and selling them to slaughterhouses). Wallach plays Guido, Langland's pilot partner, and Clift plays Perce Howland, a drifter rodeo rider. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


'SMASHING' thru the Excitement Barrier ! See more »


Drama | Romance | Western


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Clark Gable was leery of the film's New York actors - Montgomery Clift, Eli Wallach and Kevin McCarthy - who were known for their "Method acting." They, in turn, weren't sure what to expect from a legendary movie star like Gable. Frank Taylor's wife, Nan, broke the ice for them by throwing a dinner party for the cast shortly before location shooting started. The New York actors arrived first and made some disparaging comments about their leading man. Then Gable and his wife arrived, deliberately late (the actor was noted for his punctuality). After making a grand entrance, he held court, but also impressed the rest of the cast with his appreciation of the script. He also expressed interest in Clift's working methods. When Clift asked him how he approached a role, Gable replied, "I bring to it everything I have been, everything I am, and everything I hope to be." That won the Method actors over. See more »


When Monroe and Cliff are behind the bar sitting near an old car and a pile of beer cans, the cans change places from cut to cut when seen from behind Monroe down to Cliff. See more »


[first lines]
Isabelle Steers: Young man, do you have the time? I got six clocks in the house and none of them work.
Guido: Twenty after nine.
Isabelle Steers: After? It's twenty after, dear. Dahlin'. Five minutes.
Roslyn: What about you?
Isabelle Steers: I'm all set, I just tyin' my sling. The lawyer said nine thirty sharp, dahlin'.
Roslyn: Okay.
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown on and around puzzle pieces. See more »


Featured in Making Montgomery Clift (2018) See more »

User Reviews

Marilyn –– saving the best for last
7 December 2005 | by randybigham-1See all my reviews

Marilyn Monroe's breathy voice and little girl sweetness have a depth and reason in this film that most of her other roles lacked.

The Misfits, written by Monroe's ex-husband Arthur Miller, is as harsh and dark as his relationship with the actress apparently was. While over-written and plodding, the dialog has an earthy reality that seeps out from time to time, aided in no small way by John Huston's excellent direction and stunning cinematography.

Marilyn's equally iconic co-stars –– Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, Eli Wallach, Thelma Ritter –– realize their parts with finesse and feeling. But Monroe stands out in this modern day, psychological western – not for her beauty or glamor –– but for a contemplative strength and tragic emotion the actress seldom revealed on screen.

She seemed to be emerging from her sex-pot shell in her impersonation of a drifting divorcée drawn to a trio of struggling, yet oddly aimless, Nevada ranch hands. Her expressions and mannerisms are natural, at times weighted with a sadness, a tiredness that may not have been acting at all. Whether intentional or not, these facial shots of grief and pain are exquisitely disturbing, as much for their fleshing out Marilyn's personal travail at the time the movie was made as for the mixed-up character she was playing.

Her sensitivity to the plight of the wild horses the ranchers are capturing and killing for illegal profit, is brilliantly well-paced, her anguished dialog in defense of their freedom evocative of larger social issues coming to the fore in the 1960s. The poignant scenes of her outrage at the men's treatment of the horses are in fact seething in their intensity, giving the viewer a tantalizing glimpse of the caliber of talent Marilyn held in reserve, and would likely have expressed to greater acclaim had she lived longer. As it turned out, The Misfits, with all its pathos and desolation, underscored by sweeping desert backdrops, was Monroe's last film. Perhaps unavoidably, it's regarded by many as a metaphor for Marilyn's own professional and private turmoil.

And it may be. But it's also a splendid tribute to the range of her abilities. More than any other movie in which she appeared, the hauntingly heroic, if flawed, tale of The Misfits is the finest, most compellingly honest work Marilyn Monroe ever achieved.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

1 February 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Misfits See more »


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Seven Arts Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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